Archive for the ‘Country’ Category

Uganda

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Dr Lisa Chapman, Stafford

Known also as The Pearl of Africa, it is a country of spectacular natural beauty. Not only does it have the largest lake in Africa (Lake Victoria), the world’s longest river (Nile River), the tallest mountain range in Africa (Rwenzori Mountains), and one of the world’s most powerful waterfalls (Murchison Falls). Uganda also lies on the equator, has open savannah, dense rainforest, deep crater lakes, lush green hills, intensely red earth, abundant birdlife, diverse wildlife, and is home to half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas.

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Chopsticks Lanterns and the Great Wall

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Dr Lisa Chapman, Stafford


Dragons, firecrackers, red lanterns, awe-inspiring ancient structures, impressive modern architecture, advanced technology, bamboo scaffolding, tradition, friendly locals, orphanages, multitudes of silent electric scooters, loud market place haggling, cups of tea, fiery chilli and bottomless bowls of rice. Eclectic images greeted my family as we journeyed in China for a month.

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Travelling to Russia, Belarus and Baltic States

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Prepared by TMA member Sandringham, Victoria: Dr Jason Rajakulendran.

Exploring Russia, the largest country on earth and its neighbouring former Soviet states was something that had entered my mind a long time ago. Russia is a remarkable place whose famously repressed history has moulded a culture known for its pride and stoicism. I wanted to experience this culture, that is so vastly spread by distance, and to see how it had changed after trading with the west since the end of the cold war. The political situation in neighbouring Ukraine was barely an issue this time last year. This exemplifies how rapid political changes can occur and affect local security issues in foreign countries, and serves as a reminder that  travellers need to remain aware and well informed when travelling.

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Marshall Islands

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In December 2013, 19 Doctors attended the inaugural Pacific Critical Care Conference in the Marshall Islands. Director of Capstone Health Dr Matthew Atkins and employee Dr Stephen Massey from were fortunate enough to be among the participants.

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Travel to India

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Towards the end of my second semester of university at the University of Queensland, I expressed to a friend the desire to “one day” do voluntary work somewhere/anywhere overseas.  To which her reply was “Well, I’ve actually just started helping Lattitude do interviews for a volunteer placement starting next February. I can send you a link on Facebook, if you want.”

Fast forward three months, and I was deferred from University and on a plane to New Delhi, nervous and excited for the upcoming months.  As part of Young People without Borders, a new initiative for the Foundation of Young Australians, I was off to teach at a school for underprivileged in Dehradun, a city at the base of the Himalayas.

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Israel Holiday

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‘Boker Tov’, good morning!

Our tour of Israel lasted for twelve days, and every day was packed with visits to historical sites; many recorded in the Bible. It was thrilling to stand in historical places which are so well documented, and to see many towns and cities thriving due to the influx of immigrants seeking a better life style.  As an example, over one million Russian Jews have settled in Israel since the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was disbanded in 1991 under President Michael Gorbachev’s time in office. The present day population of Israel is close to 8,002,300 people.

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Typhoon Haiyan travel advice

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Prepared by TMA member Narre Warren

It is now over a month since Typhoon Haiyan (called Yolanda in the Phillipines) struck the Philippines on 8/11/13. The worst hit provinces were Leyte and Eastern Samar, which experienced sustained winds of 270 kph, gusts of up to 312 kph, and a storm surge in coastal areas as high as 7 metres. Not all travel is for pleasure. Typhoon Haiyan travel advice is be prepared and be informed.

The official death toll from the Phillipines Government is approaching 6000, the injury toll 27000, and 1800 people as of mid December 2013 are still listed as missing. These figures are considered by most to be conservative.

Enormous international aid efforts are underway. Significant infrastructure damage has caused problems with sanitation, food supply, electricity, transportation, shelter, communications, security, and medical care.

Typhoon Haiyan Pic 1.docx

What a mess

This all has implications for people who are considering travelling with aid organisations, or in those visiting relatives and friends to help them. 

The following advice applies to both groups of travellers:

1                Take a kit with you from your travel medicine clinic to treat diarrhoea; diarrhoeal illnesses are likely to be more common after a disaster where serious flooding has occurred. Follow the usual safe food and water precautions advised by your travel clinic

2                Use mosquito repellents with more than 30% DEET to prevent mosquito borne illnesses such as Dengue Fever and Chikungunya. Mosquitos will breed in greater numbers around flooded areas. The areas worst affected by Typhoon Haiyan are the islands of Leyte, Samar and Cebu; they are not affected by malaria so malaria tablets are not required for these islands.

3                Be vaccinated for Hepatitis A and Typhoid; update your tetanus injections as debris clearing will often result in injury. Have a flu injection, and speak to your travel Doctor about other vaccines you may need.

4                Avoid injury—most deaths after a natural disaster are due to blunt trauma, crush-related injuries, and drowning. Use caution around damaged or down power lines, 

water-affected electrical outlets, and interrupted gas lines.

5                 Avoid stray or frightened animals. Seek medical help immediately if you are bitten or scratched by an animal and wash out the wound. Consider rabies vaccination before you go, or seek rabies vaccination within 48 hours of any animal bites.

Typhoon Haiyan Pic 2.docx

 

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Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

by Dr Jonathan Barrell, TMA Member Daylesford, Victoria

The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in the northern Indian Ocean off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent in South Asia; known until 1972 as Ceylon. Sri Lanka has maritime borders with India to the northwest and the Maldives to the southwest.

Sri Lanka has a documented history that spans over 3000 years. Its geographic location and deep harbours made it of great strategic importance from the time of the ancient Silk Road through to World War II. Sri Lanka is a diverse country home to many religions, ethnicities and languages. It is the land of the Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamils, Moors, Indian Tamils, Burghers, Malays, Kaffirs and the aboriginal Vedda. Sri Lanka has a rich Buddhist heritage, and the first known Buddhist writings were composed on the island. The country’s recent history has been marred by a thirty-year civil war which decisively but controversially ended in a military victory in 2009.

We visited central and southern Sri Lanka in 2011 for 4 weeks. The people and cuisine and seaside villas such as www.ambalamavilla.com near Galle and www.kadjuhouse.com near Tangalle are fabulous.
Highlights included the tiny tea country mountain village of Ella www.mountainheavensella.com, the very slow train to Nuwara Eliya,, and climbing the rock at Sigiriya just north of Kandy.In Colombo I would recommend  www.gallefacehotel.com  and www.mountlaviniahotel.com, the latter being a fabulous venue for wedding party photo shoots that last for days.Travellers to Sri Lanka do need to seek medical advice about their trip as diseases such as hepatitis A, typhoid, rabies and dengue do occur and are largely preventable click here to find your nearest TMA clinic


Springs Medical Centre

You can give us a call on (03) 5348 2227 or visit our clinic website click here

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Europe – Tick Encephalitis

 

Recently a US family have been awarded $41.7 million in compensation for their daughter catching Tick Encephalitis on a school trip to China. More info.

The disease is quite rare in China but is not uncommon in Europe. Most Australians have never heard of this disease! Tick Borne Encephalitis is a serious disease carried by tick bites in Europe. 1-10% of ticks in affected areas may harbour the virus, and whilst many sufferers have no effect, the disease can cause brain damage and death.

If you are travelling to Europe in the summer (risk season is April to October) and spending a month or more in the forests, vaccination may be recommended. The vaccine is not readily available in Australia, but in Europe the vaccine against TBE is the largest selling private vaccine. There have been 35 million doses prescribed since 1980. Austria has a national program for routine vaccination. Consult your local TMA clinic for more information. More info.

Areas with TE
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Volubilis, Morocco

Prepared by Dr Deb Mills – TMA member Brisbane

Volubilis is a partly excavated Roman ruin in northern Morocco. Built in a fertile agricultural area, it was developed from the 3rd century BC onwards as a Phoenician/Carthaginian settlement. It grew rapidly under Roman rule from the 1st century AD onwards and expanded to cover an area of about 40 hectares (100 acres) with a 2.6 km (1.6 mi) circuit of walls. The city gained a number of major public buildings in the 2nd century, including a basilica, temple and triumphal arch. Its prosperity, which was derived principally from olive growing, prompted the construction of many fine town-houses with large mosaic floors. More info.
I am a fan of ancient ruins, and this site was one of the highlight of my trip to Morocco. It is a short trip from Fez or Meknes, either by private car or bus. Morocco is a country for mosaics but this site has some rather well preserved mosaics from roman times. The ruins are substantial enough to give a very vivid picture of the locals who lived in the city at that time. The rich Romans seemed to have built a very comfortable life for themselves. The ruins are still surrounded by farmlands which makes a most picturesque setting. There are no signs or maps on any of the structures when I was there, so it helps to have a guide to get the best stories and make the most of your visit.

 

TIP: Arrive as early in the morning as you can (7am) before the bulk of tourists … as we were leaving … 5 large tourist buses arrived!

 

You may be interested in Dr Deb’s one minute video: Why travellers seem to be complacent about their health. It was filmed in Volubilis. Watch it here.


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